Rest: FIRE!

The rundown:
Thursday: Beers and chats with friends
Friday: Dinner with Mr. Wonderful, stroll around Phoenix. 
Saturday: 1) Farmer's market in the AM. 2) Beer and bikes festival in the afternoon. 3) Nap time. 4)Birthday Party 5) OVEN EXPLOSION

After coming home from a long day of fun, Mr. Wonderful and I wanted to make some cookies. So we turned on the oven for the first time to get things baking. But in just a matter of minutes black smoke was billowing out the top of the oven. So we turned it off, because we're smart like that. But the SMOKE GOT WORSE.  And it BILLOWED. And I coughed a lot. And my asthma growled inside my chest. And Calypso looked scared. And then we panicked. Mr. Wonderful said get something to break into the fire extinguisher with. And I said we need a hammer! WHERE IS MY HAMMER. Mr. Wonderful says, JUST GRAB ANYTHING. And so he uses a bike pump. And he grabs the fire extinguisher and we point it in the oven where there's big flames and an excessive amount of smoke. 

And then the fire goes out. 

And now there is a white, blanket of powder in every nook and cranny of my studio. Seriously, it's EVERYWHERE. On my keys. On pencils. On my TV.  On the floor. On the dishes. On the couch. On the dog. I drank some water... it was filled with powder. Gross. 

Sunday: Sweep, mop, mop again, dust, dust again. Sit. Cough. 

Welcome Home!


Run: Downtown Haiku

I moved downtown and I love it. Tuesday, I went for my first city run, and... sometimes, a haiku says it better.

Downtown run was fun--
Until a car pulled out fast.
Jump, screech... but no smash.

Lights, people and sounds:
Energy of a city.
But pollution: yuck.

Another stop light!
Must pause my Suunto again.
Training is ruined.

Shops, food and culture
Although  there's nowhere to run,
I love this city.


Rest: Tax man

I always thought paying taxes was fun: Spend an hour reflecting on your year and then get a few-hundred-dollar bonus! Free money! How neat!

This year I owe about a grand. Which is a TON of money to me. And I want to die. Boo tax season. Boo. And that pretty much sums up my weekend. I hope you all had a better one that I did!


Rate: Vegan?

I'm thinking about going vegan. I'm already a vegetarian and I already avoid cheese because I'm lactose intolerant. But God I love cheese. So I often go on pizza/burrito/cheesy/greasy binges. These typically leave me feeling very, very ill. They're really good for training too (Not!).  I also think calcium is very important. But I really do think I should be vegan. I'm so torn. What to do!? 

I'll leave it to the jury. Should I go vegan? Yay or Nay?!


Run: Beans, rice and broccoli

I am so stuffed. I mean STUFFED. And the best part is, I'm not stuffed with a greasy pizza or massive burrito. I'm stuffed with healthy food. Mmmmmmmm.

I have already mentioned that I haven't been very motivated to run lately, and I think a lot of this is because my runs haven't been very fun. As in, I've been feeling out of shape no matter how much I run,  and I've been feeling tired after only a mile or so. What gives?

Of course I assumed that I've suddenly became the worst, most out of shape runner ever, but then it hit me: DUH. NUTRITION. I'm not getting the nutrients I need!

The past few weeks an average weekday has looked like this:
Breakfast: Coffee, Oatmeal
Lunch: Carnation Breakfast Shake with Almond Milk
Snack: Peanuts, and an occasional vending machine binge consisting of Cheez Its or Crackers
Dinner: About a cup of rice and some veggies, 1-2 glasses of wine

The weekends, of course, look something like this:
Breakfast: Coffee, Oatmeal
Lunch: Tacos or bar food, beer, chips, candy
Snacks: Chips, candy, peanuts
Dinner: Pizza or pasta, chips, candy, wine and/ or beer

Now both examples aren't very nutritious, but honestly I'm more concerned about the former. Although I was trying to lose a little weight, cut out junk food and save money by drinking the Carnation shakes for lunch, I don't think I'm getting even remotely enough nutrients.

See, the thing about being a vegetarian is that I need to be extremely intentional and meticulous about what I eat if I want to feel my best (especially while running). This isn't as easy as it sounds. Vegetarians not only need to make healthy choices, but they need to pair different foods each meal in order to get the same nutrients that someone who eats meat would. For instance, a meal of rice and broccoli is good, but there isn't enough protein. Add black beans, more veggies and possibly some cheese and I might as well be eating a chicken breast. 

The other thing is that although it's obvious a vegetarian must eat a lot of vegetables to make up for a lack of major vitamins one gets from meat, the vegetarian has to eat much larger quantities of those vegetables. Each meal should contain a green vegetable, and not just a handful. The veggies should be a huge part of the meal. They should often be the main course!

With that said, I was definitely not getting enough nutrients during the day, and, especially since I run after work, my runs have been suffering. On top of that, it's practically pointless for me to be restricting myself during the week, because I make up all the calories on the weekend!

So now that I've had that epiphany, it's time to make some serious changes. I foresee something more like this:
Breakfast: Coffee, oatmeal with raisins
Snack: Fruit and nuts
Small lunch: Steamed vegetables, salad, rice and/or tuna
Snack: Carnation shake
Post work (or am): Have a GREAT run
Dinner: Rice, beans, vegetables and dairy (cheese or milk) with some orange juice OR pasta with veggies, olive oil, and fake meat. 0-1 glasses of wine during the week. Splurge a little on the weekends. 

I'm off to a good start. Tonight I made myself a WHOPPING serving of a nutritious and yummy concoction:  1.5 cups brown rice, 3/4 cup black beans, 1 teaspoon of grape seed veganaise, 2 cups of broccoli, 1/4 cup of parm cheese, a few sprinkles of salt, pepper, garlic salt and Mexican chili powder. And a cup of orange juice.

Hopefully I will feel better on my run tomorrow. Fingers crossed!


Rest: Going local

If I met me today, and I told myself all the cool things I did this weekend, I would think that I'm a pretty cool cat. Unfortunately, I typically fail to be as proactive as I was this weekend. Most days I would meet myself and think hey you're kinda lazy. But not today, no no. not. to.day. 

Friday: Drive to Tucson post-work. Mr. Wonderful cooked a delicious Pasta Marinara and then we walked to the Gold Nugget and played some pool. The Gold Nugget is a quaint, rustic dive bar with cheap drinks, a jukebox, three pool-tables and traditional bar decor consisting of leather, wood and neon lights.  I lost twice... it wasn't my night. But hey, I had fun anyways. If I try really, really hard, someday I'll be good at pool, right?

Saturday: Ran in the rain. It was cold. I was ill-prepared.

Then, headed to Monument camera where I bought a new camera lens. This place is epic. It's full of old cameras, film and equipment and the guy that works there knows pretty much EVERYTHING about camera. The building itself it horrific, but it's a gem inside:

Sadly, it was to rainy to take pictures. So we made lunch (YUMMY vegan burritos. Rocked my freaking world! Who knew Mr. Wonderful is such a good cook!?), and then headed to Bookman's for some camera books! 

Our last stop of the evening was the video rental store. I haven't been in a movie rental store in over 2 years... I think. They're kinda outdated... but it was awesome. Not only was their an epic amount of films to choose from, the store was employed with the nerdiest, most film-geek looking people I've ever seen. It was awesome. The movies were also organized in really helpful ways such as "Oscar-winners by year," "directors," "Criterion," "classic actors," etc. They also had free bags of popcorn. For dinner, we had Italian-style pizza at a cute little local bistro. It was delicious. I love pizza... MMmmm... now I want pizza.

We rented The Last Days of Disco. It was awesome. I think I have officially put it into my top ten favorite videos list. 

Sunday: I ran hills for practically the first time. 7 Miles. It was awesome. So much fun. And Gates Pass is beautiful. 

And we ended the wonderful weekend by taking pictures at the beautiful Mission San Xavier Del Bac. I can't even begin to articulate how ornately stunning the interior is, and how breathtaking the building itself is. So I won't even try. I took lots of pictures. Be patient and I'll post them for you soon. I have a an old film SLR, so I have to get them developed. I know, how archaic of me. It really was beautiful though. Ya, Europe? You think you got some fancy cathedrals? You aint got NOTHING on Tucson!

The moral of the weekend is: Be proactive with what you do and support local businesses.


Rate: The Nook: Evolution or a total sell-out?

Fer me berfday, Mr. Wonderful got me a Nook! Coolest present ever! I was pretty much shaking with excitement. And then I did a dance. I dance when I'm excited. 

The Nook came at perfect timing because my bookshelf has definitely reached full capacity. Like, there are books on top of the bookshelf, there are books on top of the books in the bookshelf, and there are books stuffed in a box on top of the bookshelf. I guess it's time for a new bookshelf.

So here's my predicament. I'm a English major nerd. I love books. I love literature. I love writing. If I had it my way I would do nothing but read and write all day long. Ok... I guess I'd throw a couple runs in there also... but if this was a magical world where I wouldn't get fat, I'd still have calf muscles and I had an endless supply of endorphins, then I may even skip the running. Please don't hate me for saying so.

Anyways, I have now officially converted to an E-book user. Which is great. I mean, I can download books on the fly, it's super light-weight and great for traveling and I can hold it with one hand so I can have a glass of wine in the other. What's not to love? However there's a part of me that feels like a lit major SELL OUT. I have abandoned my love for the written word... sort of. Or at least my love for the smell, feel and look of a real, tangible book. What have I done?! Am I a total sell out? Can you even take me seriously as someone who reads when you see me with that Nook?! Oh the turmoil.

Predicament number two is that my bookshelf is extremely cumbersome. I'm seriously tempted to ditch the shelf and sell all of my books. I mean I've read them all so they're just sitting there taking up space. They're like trophies. And I'm moving soon to a studio and I'll need all the space I can get, not to mention they're heavy. So what do I do? Do I sell the books? Do I abandon my loves?! I don't know if I can do it. I'm so attached. The thought just kills me. But sometimes you just have to rip off that Bandaid, right? Right? WHAT AM I TO DO?!


Run: It's hot again. Dangit!

It must be nice having a spring. I wouldn't know. Ours lasted about three weeks. If it doesn't cool down one more time before summer, I might have to head North ASAP and soak in some cooler weather before permanently adjusting to 100 degrees plus.

It's been 90-95 all week. FUN. What does this mean for my running? GOOD QUESTION. This means that I must passionately convert to early-birdism. I must become a morning person. And not just a roll out of bed early and go to work person. I must start waking up at 445-5, put on my running shoes and bust out a great workout before heading to my cubicle. I really want to be that person. I really do... But my bed is just so comfortable and my dog is so cuddly and it's so dark outside! UGH!

It also means I have to carry water even for a short 30 minute run. So this weekend, I had to bust out the trusty fuel belt. Hello fuel belt, I've missed you! The fuel belt is pictured above. Sorry for the grainy picture, and I'm growling in the picture... in case you weren't sure. RAWR. Anyways, I like to fill one bottle with an electrolyte water, and the other bottle with just water. Typically I end up pouring half of the untainted water all over myself. I'm convinced this helps. I ran the other day when it was about 90 degrees out and I ended up soaking wet by the end of the run. I'd say half sweat/half water. It's times like these that I wish I were a cyclist... at least they get some wind in the heat!

 What about you all? Any tricks to staying cool? Do you wear a fuel belt or something else?


Rest: My weekend was awesome. Was yours?

I must say, it really was a WONDERFUL weekend. It was just one of those weekends where everything went well and everyone was in a good mood (besides my allergies.. they were horrible! But I'm trying to look past that little bump in the weekend road). It was my bestie's B-day on Saturday (that's her and me pictured above) but Mr. Wonderful and I were really looking forward to a T-town weekend, so we decided to split the weekend up: half in Tucson, half in Phoenix. What a great idea! The fact that I had a three-day weekend helped things run smoothly. Weekend awesomeness included, but was not limited to: 
  • Tucson Street Fair! WAHOO (see pics below). Too bad AZ hit a record seasonal high and we had to trek the streets in 96 degree weather. I'm sorry... isn't it April?! I'm not ready for the heat. I'M NOT READY.
  • 6 Mile Tucson run. Oh I just LOVE running in Tucson. Can someone please find me a job in Tucson so I can move there?! Otherwise I'll have to become a hippy, grow a garden, make bad desert art and live in a commune. This is the only way to survive in Tucson. Tempting... but I suppose not realistic.
  • Bestie's Birthday party. She turned 24. Lucky her. I'm 25. I'm old. The whole gang showed up. I was drugged up and Benodryl and Sudafed and ended up having a fabulous time being over-enthusiastic and giggly. 
  • Babysat my nephew. Have I told you lately how ADORABLE my nephew is? He's quite possibly the cutest kid in America. Heck, maybe even in the world. He's currently working on crawling but seems to be closer to walking than crawling. He can't seem to go forward on his belly. He just starts to scoot backwards... like an army drill in the mud. And then he starts crying because he wishes he was going forward instead of backwards. Then I start laughing. He makes really funny faces when he cries. 
  • Relaxed, read blogs, wrote some things and read on my new Nook!
Good weekend huh? I know you're jealous. 

And now.... The Tucson Street Fair Story Board!

There were a ton of people there. So that was cool. And a lot of the art was actually good, so that was cool too. It was about 2 miles of this (exciting picture, I know):

After grabbing some brewskies from some very excited retirees, a large sign caught my eye: 

They had 17 different types of honey.. WHAT?! We tasted about six of them. They were damn good. My favorite flavor was desert wildflower... don't ask me to explain what that tastes like. After selfishly wasting the booth owner's time... I was almost guilted into buying a jar. Luckily Mr. Wonderful pulled me away in the nick of time! He's always good at stepping in when I'm about to make really careless decisions.  One time he had to stop me from buying a car because I felt bad for wasting the sale's guy's time. This really happened. I'm easily persuaded. Anyways, here's the honey (yummy): 

Then I saw a guy wearing shorts with little American flags all over them. I found this to be the corniest, funniest thing I'd ever seen. So I took a picture: 

Do you see the flags?! Even better, was this sign that was supposed to say Cowgirl Up.... do you see the typo? Please tell me you do.. 

There were also cool festival people. Can you see him doing fun tricks on a unicycle?!

And decadent and greasy festival food that I somehow restrained myself from eating. 

We ended the day at this booth, which I then found out was the entire reason that Mr. Wonderful's libertarian friend wanted to go to the festival. Apparently, these are a big deal?

Have a happy Monday!


Rant: Part 3: Evaluation bloggonation station

In my re-entry into the blogosphere, I want to do things right. I want this to be one of my most favorite things to do. However as I’ve already mentioned, I’m so torn. I want to write about running, but I also want to write about clothing, writing, music, work, my feelings, cooking, my adventures, my dog, wine, my friends, my trials, my thoughts, the things I learn, photography and so much more.

But how does one incorporate all the wonderfulness that makes her who she is? I know every single one of you could care less about at least one of the things on that list. But I also think a good blogger can make it all work. Below is a list of things that I think make a good blogger. But hey, I’m no pro (I mean come on, I took like, a 3 month hiatus). I’d like your input too. What do you think makes a good blogger?

A great blogger…

1. Has a sense of humor about oneself. This is so important. Readers can smell pretension and ego. The stench seeps through the shiny computer screen like pit stains in a photograph. Shut Up and Run and Confessions of a Pioneer Woman have this trait on lock down. They both, in very different ways, have the ability to brag, tell tales, or educate without any sense of betteratism (betteratism = An inherent, chronic condition leaving one in a constant state of feeling better than all those around them. I make up words now). They laugh at their faults, tease those around them including themselves, and always come back to a humble, introspective conclusion.
2. Is either extremely funny, extremely magnetic, or extremely interesting. You don’t have to be all of these all the time. And most days you can even cut out the “extremely,” but ever so often, a good blogger has one of these extreme qualities. (eek, I’ve got some work to do).
3. Is either a great photographer, a great writer, or an extremely talented/intelligent individual in his/her field. I’m not saying that a good blogger MUST be one of these things all the time. But I do think a GREAT blogger with staying power and lots of fans becomes at least one of these things very often. (ugh, even more work to do!)
4. Is loyal and detail-oriented. Okay, I think I may fail miserably at this one. A great blogger is loyal to his/her readers. She doesn’t miss posts, her posts are regular and she does not make a lot of errors or typos.
5. Continually provides fresh, relevant information. ‘Nuff said. 

Shucks, I’ve got a lot of work to do. Please, enlighten me. What do you, fellow bloggers, think makes a GREAT blogger?